Halothon 2013 – A Childs Play Charity Event
For those who don’t know, back in January 2013 I hosted a Halo marathon (quickly abbreviated to Halothon) in which I played my way through all of the Halo games chronologically, (starting with Halo Reach and working my way through Halo CE, 2, ODST, 3 and finally 4) back-to-back on the Heroic difficulty (I tried playing them on Legendary, and basically I’m not that good!) for 24 hours which I streamed on Twitch.Tv. But I didn’t do this just for giggles, I did it to raise money for Child’s Play Charity.
Child’s Play Charity raise money to buy toys, games and books for children who are in hospital. I was fortunate enough to never have been hospitalised as a child (well, not for more than a day anyway… Long story), but I know that my father was and so was my eldest brother. Even if you haven’t been hospitalised as a child, or even as an adult, you must have been inside a hospital at some time or another. You know what it’s like, it’s not a great deal of fun. It’s boring, it can smell of medicine and, especially for a small child, it can be very scary. So what does Child’s Play do? They buy them toys, books and games to keep a child entertained during their stay at the hospital. The best part of this is it’s not just to keep the child entertained or quiet, it has been proven that a happy child heals faster after a procedure than an unhappy child. It’s a win-win! And if you count the fun you have raising the money helping them out, it’s a win-win-win!
Anyway, back to the Halothon. I didn’t document my experience at the time, I didn’t have a blog and I didn’t have anyone there to do it for me as I did the second time I did a gaming marathon. Oh yes, I have done this twice now but the second time I did it with my brother, James, and we didn’t play Halo, we played the Legend of Zelda. And since James did have a blog, he wrote about it, which you can read here.
But, my Halothon was a different experience. I hosted it by myself, in my living of my student flat which I shared with my best mate, Liam. He spent most of the day out and about and left me to my own devices (although I managed to get him to agree to make me plenty of coffee and cook my dinner for me!). There is a nice difference in doing it by yourself, in the way that you can make funny comments about the game, and just talk at your listeners. But there are disadvantages too, such as that I couldn’t check the stream was working 100% without pausing the game, which would interrupt the gameplay and stop the clock. I also couldn’t pay attention to the chat on Twitch.tv, which is a great shame because I missed out on the conversation.
Another HUGE disadvantage of doing it by yourself is that you have no one in the wee hours of the morning to make sure you don’t fall asleep during gameplay, which I have to admit I did several times. Seriously! I remember quite well the feeling I had when I was playing the second level of Halo 3, I was running along the bridge, and suddenly I opened my eyes to find myself in a room that was nowhere near the bridge and I said out loud “Where the hell am I?” to the great amusements of my friends who tuned in early in the morning to watch me finish my 24 hours. And this wasn’t a one off! This happened several times, I would just keep playing when I fell asleep! When I did the Zeldathon with my brother, we were stocked with Jaffa Cakes to keep our sugar levels high, and we took it in turns to play the game, so while one of us played, the other could walk around and wake up again.
However, back to my experience playing one game franchise for 24 hours. At first, my witty banter was full of life, full of content and I remember becoming quite animated on the last level of Halo Reach since it was particularly difficult to finish. Finishing that on Heroic was fun, and I was still alive and kicking as I started Halo CE, and I knew that playing that on Heroic would be a challenge for me. And it was, it took me a little longer than planned which is why I didn’t finish all of them in that 24 hour period. But I can tell you, the feeling I had when I finished Halo CE on Heroic was quite a feeling indeed! I won’t forget it.
Fast forward about 8 hours (during Halo ODST I believe) and the stream was very quiet. My witty banter sparse, myself quite lonely in my living room as Liam had gone to bed many hours ago. During cutscenes, I got up to walk around and look out my living room window. There were moments of elation, however, I had never completed Halo CE or 2 on the Heroic difficulty before without taking a break, so I was proud of myself. However, I had finished ODST on Heroic many times and therefore lacked the joy when finishing it, even though it was, and still is, my favourite game in the Halo franchise so far.
When the 24 hours were over, I was halfway through Halo 3, and I had a countdown on my phone that went off loudly and proudly, saying “Well done Chris, you actually did it!” and the feeling was one of exhausted joy. I paused the game, talked for about 10 minutes about the experience, saying how it was long, tiring and very frustrating at times, but it was still fun as I loved playing Halo. After signing off, I had a cup of tea with Liam to wind down, and then at 11am I went to bed and woke up 8 hours later, just in time for dinner (Spaghetti Bolognese) and then I went back to bed. But the sleep was full of dreams of Halo, muzzle flashes and battles. It wasn’t the most restful of slumbers!
The end result of this marathon may surprise you, it may not, but not only did we raise over £100 for Child’s Play (I know it’s not a lot but every penny helps and it was my first marathon, which I admit I didn’t advertise particularly well but I was glad we hit the minimum target of £100) and secondly, I didn’t play Halo again for at least 6 months! I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! And this differs massively to my experience with the Zeldathon, which ended with me taking a 2 hour nap and then that very afternoon I played Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past on my GameBoy. Legend of Zelda means more to me than Halo, and I would never not play it if I had the chance.
So, yeah. That was my experience in hosting a Halothon. It was hard, tiring but it was great fun! The Zeldathon was even more fun. This means only one thing: Yes, I will be doing this again! Hopefully sometime in 2016. I will let you know when, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!
Have you ever done a charity livestream? If so, what was your experience like? Did you do it alone or in a group? We would love to hear your stories, so please leave them in a comment below! 😀
See you in the next post!